Weakening immunity, increased travel fuel spike in Singapore Covid-19 cases

The Ministry of Health said the number of hospitalizations and intensive care cases is not as high as during the pandemic.

“This has increased the workload on our already busy hospitals,” the MoH said, adding that it is closely following the trajectory of this wave to ensure its health care capacity is able to cope.

Although the number of cases is increasing, there is no indication that locally circulating variants are more transmissible or cause more severe disease, the ministry added.

He also urged members of the public to seek medical treatment in emergency departments only in serious or life-threatening emergencies.

“This will preserve our hospital capacity for patients who really need urgent hospital care and allow those with serious illness to receive prompt treatment.”

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The health ministry said the increase in cases could be attributed to several factors, including weakening population immunity and increased travel and community interactions during year-end travel and the holiday season.

Cases of infected with JN. 1, subline of BA. 2.86, currently account for more than 60 percent of Singapore’s Covid-19 cases.

While the B.A. 2.86 and its sublines have been classified as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization since November 21, the ministry added that there are currently no indications, globally or locally, that BA. 2.86 or JN. 1 is more transmissible or causes more severe disease than other circulating variants.

In its travel health advice, the MoH advises people to see their doctor four to six weeks before traveling for a health risk assessment. This includes advice on required vaccinations.

Good personal hygiene should always be observed during travel and travelers are encouraged to avoid close contact with people who are unwell or have symptoms of infectious diseases.

Upon return to Singapore, those who feel unwell or develop respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose should wear a mask and seek medical attention immediately. They should also tell their doctor about their travel history.

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The World Health Organization announces that Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency

The World Health Organization announces that Covid-19 is no longer a global emergency

Vaccination remains effective in preventing severe disease, the Department of Health said, advising everyone to keep up with their Covid-19 shots.

This includes an additional dose about one year after a person’s last vaccine dose for people over age 60, the medically vulnerable, and residents of nursing homes.

In addition to this group, the MoH encouraged all persons six months of age and older to receive the extra dose, particularly health workers and household members or caregivers of those who are medically vulnerable.

The updated monovalent Covid-19 vaccines Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna/Spikevax are available at the MoH Collaborative Testing and Vaccination Centers, participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPC) and selected polyclinics from November 2023 and continue to be free.

Additional information about the location of these sites and the type of vaccines they offer is available online.

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In addition to keeping up with its staff, the Ministry of Health also advised the public to exercise precautionary measures, along with personal and social responsibility.

Such steps include staying home when you are unwell and minimizing contact with others, especially those who are more vulnerable.

“In a crowded place, especially if it is not well ventilated, consider wearing a mask,” the MoH added.

This article was first published by CNA

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